August 22, 2012

Thucydides's Trap Has Been Sprung in the Pacific

Graham Allison, Financial Times

AP Photo

The defining question about global order in the decades ahead will be: can China and the U.S. escape Thucydides's trap? The historian's metaphor reminds us of the dangers two parties face when a rising power rivals a ruling power – as Athens did in 5th century BC and Germany did at the end of the 19th century. Most such challenges have ended in war. Peaceful cases required huge adjustments in the attitudes and actions of the governments and the societies of both countries involved.

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TAGGED: Asia, United States, China, South China Sea, Thucydides

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